Virat Kohli's Indian Cricket Team are riding high after whitewashing South Africa 3-0 for the first time. (Photo Credit: PTI)
Bangladesh had created history on their arrival in India when they defeated the hosts for the first time in Twenty20 Internationals in their opening game in Delhi. They were blown away in Rajkot and had a historic chance to win in Nagpur but a Deepak Chahar hat-trick and 6/7 ensured India maintained their stranglehold over Bangladesh. However, to expect Bangladesh to create history and upset India in Tests would be like asking too much from them. Bangladesh are acknowledged as a competitive unit in limited overs cricket but in Tests, their performances have stagnated. In their last Test, they lost to Afghanistan. The absence of Shakib Al Hasan and Tamim Iqbal, seasoned Test veterans for Bangladesh, will be felt immensely in the longer format. Remove Shakib and remove Tamim, the only players who have a good batting record in Tests are Mushfiqur Rahim, Mahmudullah upto a certain extent and skipper Mominul Haque who will lead the side for the first time ever. At the other end of the spectrum, India are welcoming back Virat Kohli who was rested for the T20Is.
When it comes to batting and bowling comparisons of both sides, it is like chalk and cheese. Rohit Sharma, Mayank Agarwal, Cheteshwar Pujara, Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane and Hanuma Vihari make up an intimidating top order. Unlike past Indian teams though, this outfit's bowling makes them the best in the world. Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma and Umesh Yadav were the stars in India's 3-0 rout of South Africa while Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja are class spinners. Add back-up in Kuldeep Yadav and Bangladesh know that their task is cut out. Even in the bowling, Bangladesh lack experience without the class of Shakib.
Taijul Islam, Mehidy Hasan Miraz and Mustafizur Rahman have all performed decently but have not established a reputation as being able to run through top order batting line-ups outside of their comfort zone in Mirpur and Chattogram. With the batting also heavily reliant on a couple of individuals, it will be a major achievement if Bangladesh can stretch India upto day 5.
Bangladesh are plagued with inexperience and they might include some fresh faces. Saif Hassan has been impressive in the domestic circuit and he might get a look-in. The bowling though will be reliant on pacers Mustafizur Rahman, Abu Jayed and Ebadot Hossain while the spinners in Taijul Islam and Mehidy Hasan could be the key. For India, they have a problem of plenty. Ishant, Shami and Umesh make up a potent pace trio while Ashwin and Jadeja will be expected to trouble Bangladesh in their area of weakness which is combatting top quality spin.
In the series against Afghanistan, Bangladesh struggled against Rashid Khan's legspin and that might tempt them to take Kuldeep Yadav. However, with the Indore wicket offering some extra bounce, India might not make too many changes from the side that trounced South Africa comprehensively.
Weather and pitch conditions
The weather in Indore is all clear and there are no chances of rain affecting the Test match. The pitch in Indore will assist a bit of seam and swing. The hard pitch will give the bowlers some extra bounce but as the match progresses, the pitch will deteriorate to assist the spinners even more. In ODIs, the pitch has been a batting paradise and it will be expected to retain it's nature during the Test as well.
India have played only one Test in Indore and that was the match against New Zealand in 2016. The match was notable for a 365-run stand between Kohli and Rahane. The Indian skipper notched up his maiden double ton and Rahane smashed 188. The match was also notable for sold-out crowds at the venue. With the passion of cricket high in Indore, this match will see great attendance and could Test Virat Kohli's statement that Tests need to be played only at five major centres.